The attack of the goats
It’s not everyday that you get to be attacked by goats … twice. 😮 When you usually think of goats, you see them as some kind animals, rummaging about on lush green hills and minding their own business. But no! Not in Norway, land of splendid waterfalls, unpronounceable fjord names and venturesome goat gangs.
But let’s start from the beginning…
It was a decently sunny day in late August, 2019. It was our first day in Aurland, so far my favourite region in Norway! It is located on the south side of the Sognefjorden, the largest and deepest fjord in Norway. Renown for its dramatic scenery and vikings, the region is composed of fjords, mountains and only small populated areas. It also has a lot of tunnels, one of which is the Lærdal Tunnel, the longest road tunnel in the world ( 24.5km 😮 ) and two permanent glaciers: Storskavlen and Blåskavlen.
We were staying in Aurlandsvagen, at an awesome airbnb just by the fjord, and were looking forward to a beautiful day of hiking to Prest and admiring the Aurlands fjord from above. Little did we know about the dangers that lay ahead…
Our first stop was at Stegastein, a very popular ( = very high risk of being poked in the eyes by selfie sticks) viewpoint. We quickly took a few pics and then drove away from the crowds.
But the view from there was pretty amazing, I admit 🙂 That’s Aurlandsvagen down by the water in the bottom left of the pic.
From Stegastein there are only around 2kms and just one or two twists and turns in the road to the Mt Prest hike parking lot. We found the parking lot at the point indicated by google maps, but watch out as the road sign for it is very small and easy to miss.
It was here, in the parking lot, when we were attacked the first time by some vicious creatures…
I’m not kidding! We barely got out of the car when one of them attacked! Its attack methods: sniffing trousers (?!) and trying to get into the car (why though? as there was no food inside the car!!!).
We bravely dodged the goat and managed to prepare our backpacks and stuff for the hike. But the vicious creature would not let us close the car doors.
At some point, one of them managed to get both front legs inside the car. Let me repeat that, just to be clear: that means there was half a goat in the car!! I come from a big city, I don’t come prepared with skills for fending such an attack! I tried asking it to get out of the car but with no luck. But that makes sense, as I assume the goat wasn’t familiar with Romanian. And I don’t speak Norwegian nor Goatish. So I had no choice but to grab one of its horns and nicely drag the goat out of the car. We quickly locked the car, got away from the goats and started the hike. But that one goat just sat down menacingly by the car … was it just waiting for us to hike and come back? Or way it hoping for us to go on so it could trash the car? And, most importantly, did the rental car have goat insurance?
We took the risk and started the hike … And we quickly forgot about the goats…
The hike was perfect, relatively short (it took us about 3-4 hours for the round-trip with loads of stops for pictures), pretty easy and with the most amazing view of the fjord.
It was also pretty empty as (I’m not sure why as it was a nice day) there were really few people on the path. But there was a lot of wind.
We stopped once every few steps to take more and more pics of the fjord. But, trust me, they do not all look the same! The clouds, the rocks, the position of the boats passing in the fjord, something is different in every picture!
The sun also kept playing neat tricks and highlighted something different in each picture. The village highlighted in this pic, at the end of the fjord, is Flåm. Home of the Flåm Railway and starting point for some fjord cruises.
This was the view from the top of the hike. There was also a small box on top, with a Norwegian flag perfect for pics in windy conditions 🙂
After taking loads of pictures from the top, we started our way back towards the car. And of course stopped as many times for pics as on the way up, if not ever more times. We followed the same path though.
And, most likely, took pics of the same rocks as on the way up.
And this was waiting for us when we got to the car park. Our car was the red one in the back, way behind the menace.
This time it was a different herd. With a different leader. With a different attack tactic.
These ones used tickle torture. And, in case you are wondering, this is actually a real thing! 😮
Chinese tickle torture is an ancient form of torture practiced by the Chinese, in particular the courts of the Han Dynasty. Chinese tickle torture was a punishment for nobility since it left no marks and a victim could recover relatively easily and quickly.
Another example of tickle torture was used in ancient Rome, where a person’s feet were dipped in a salt solution, and a goat was brought in to lick the solution off. This type of tickle torture would only start as tickling, eventually becoming extremely painful.
read more on wikipedia if you do not believe me
It might seem that I was laughing and trying to get a cool pic of the attacker.
And it would be true :)) But, unfortunately, I did not manage to take a good picture. But at least my legs got clean.
Yes, I can be ticklish, this was not funny.
We did eventually escape the attack and retrieve the car. On our way back home we made another stop at Stegastein. This time avoiding the actual view point with the crowd and testing a different pic point.
And took some (even more) pics of the fjord, now in almost-sunset-ish light.
We also used the toilet from the Stegastein parking lot. And I strongly recommend you do to.
And this is how our first day in Aurland ended. Stay tuned for the second part of this article for even more goat adventures. 🙂
P.S. I still don’t know if the rental car insurance also covered goat attack marks. But I’ll surely ask next time!
Useful info & links
- The trip to this particular region was inspired by this series of posts by Lisa from Fjords and Beaches.
- If you are looking for a place to stay in the area, this is a fantastic choice. If you are not on Airbnb yet, use this link and get $50 off your first trip.
- Also, do not miss this place . I linked you directly to the pics so you’ll know why :)) I’m still wondering why we only went there once.
trip date: August 2019